We all know how it was like being the odd one out in school. Children can be very insensitive and this young boy had to endure all of that in pursuit of his dream of learning. This is a story about Thulani Gama. He started school at age 12 and had to find a way to fit in with his much younger classmates.
When they sing rhymes, he looks sort of awkward with his tall stature next to the “smaller” children but he seems unwavered as he goes about singing the song “head and shoulders, knees and tours”.
His teacher Simphiwe Simelane of Entfubeni Primary School tells of her experiences with having an older child in her classroom. She explains that Thulani would often move away from the grade 2 line in assembly and opt for the grade 5 line instead due to his height.
Thulani’s teacher further explains the challenges that the children in the area face and the daily struggle that they have to overcome in order to come to school. This, she explains has altered her responsibilities to them as just their teacher, making her their primary caregiver of sorts.
When Thulani gets home after an hour long walk from school with his siblings he still has a lot of chores to get to. He lost his father, leaving his mother who was pregnant with twins to head the home. She, now a domestic worker had to leave for the city as job opportunities back home were scarce.
Thulani’s teacher predicts a bleak outlook should Thulani fail to complete his education as she explains that job opportunities are few and far between in Swaziland even for a degree holder, talk less of primary school drop outs. She shares her joy over the government’s initiative of free education which saw Thulani enter the classroom and she also prays that he sees his schooling career to the end.
Here are some comments from our Facebook page about the posts. Interestingly a number of people share Thulani’s experience.
How many times have you given up on your dreams because you feel like they have been overtaken by events? If a mere thousand of us had just 10% of the tenacity that Thulani, a 13 year old disadvantaged boy has – our lives would be so much better. Please share his story on your FB wall to inspire your friends.